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Page last updated at 15:24 GMT, Sunday, 12 October 2008 16:24 UK

Kunitsyn sees off Safin for title

Igor Kunitsyn
Kunitsyn finally beat Safin for the first time in four attempts

Igor Kunitsyn ended fellow Russian Marat Safin's hopes of a first title in three years with victory in the Kremlin Cup final on Sunday.

Safin went into the Moscow final ranked 31 places higher at 40 in the world and with a 3-0 head-to-head record.

But Kunitsyn came through 7-6 (8-6) 6-7 (4-7) 6-3 for his first ATP title.

German qualifier Philipp Petzschner enjoyed a stunning win over Gael Monfils to take the Vienna title, and David Nalbandian won in Stockholm.

Safin was looking for his first tournament win since the Australian Open in 2005, having lost to another Russian, Nikolay Davydenko, in Moscow two years ago.

Kunitsyn took a tight first set in 66 minutes and broke midway through the second set, but Safin recovered to force a decider.

606: DEBATE
However, it was Kunitsyn who made the decisive break for a 4-2 lead in the third set and saw out victory in two hours 49 minutes.

"Everybody knows Marat is better than me but today I'm the winner," said Kunitsyn.

"It's terrific to win my first title in front of my home fans and I hope I would be able to defend it here next year."

Safin said: "I was chasing him all the time. I could not capitalise on my chances but he converted every time he had a chance and didn't make many mistakes.

"There's no surprise he won."

Petzschner, ranked 125 in the world, had to play two qualifying rounds to enter the main draw and became only the third qualifier this season to win an ATP tournament.

"This is unbelievable, I can't describe my feelings now," he said after beating seventh seed Monfils 6-4 6-4.

"I will enter the top 100, which makes a dream come true."

Top seed Nalbandian boosted his ailing ranking with a 6-2 5-7 6-3 win over Sweden's Robin Soderling in the Stockholm Open final.

The Argentine is currently ranked down at 26 in the world having won just one tournament this year when he took the Buenos Aires title in February.


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